Moscow, March 9, 2017
The statement of the Third International Conference of Orthodox Military Chaplains, held October 17-21, 2016 by the Orthodox Ordinariate of the Polish army in Warsaw, was published on March 8 on the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Synodal Department for Relations with the Armed Forces.
The statement expressed approval and support for the decision to introduce military chaplains in Ukraine, reminding that the international Orthodox community recognizes only the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, reports the Information Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The self-styled and nationalistic “Kiev Patriarchate” and “Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church” are schismatic, in communion with no one.
“Knowing about the difficult situation of religious life in Ukraine, in particular about the painful and tragic schism of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, we consider it our duty to remind those involved in the organization of military chaplaincy service that thus far all Orthodox military chaplains, regardless of nationality and citizenship, providing care and spiritual aid to soldiers in the army (in peacekeeping operations and other activities), were and are mutually recognized and interchangeable as clerics of canonical Local Orthodox Churches,” the document reads.
Thus, the document continues, the conference hopes that in all future peacekeeping missions involving Ukrainian troops, spiritual nourishment will come from canonical chaplains of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. Chaplaincy service from schismatic priests will most likely in the future create situations in which soldiers of another country will be cut off from access to spiritual help, and will have no liturgical services to attend, as Orthodox Christians do not participate in the worship of schismatics and heretics.
The gathering of chaplains expressed hope for understanding and support from Ukrainian authorities. The statement was drafted on behalf of representatives of Orthodox chaplaincy services in Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Finland.